Children and Conversational Postulates

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Many times when I am working with parents and children, I am asked how effective is NLP with children. My answer, NLP is very effective when working with children, if the adult is prepared to calibrate, test, re-calibrate, test, laugh, laugh, and learn.

Each child is unique, think about fingerprints, no two sets are alike, and yet many people think that what works with one child will surely work with all children.

NLP is not a thing, it is based on observation, curiosity, guessing and then testing, sometimes through trial and error. Children are masters at flexibility. If they want something, they will continuously and creatively modify their behavior until they either get what they want, or discover something else to focus their attention on. The younger the child the easier they can be distracted.

So the bottom line is, the adult must have more flexibility of behavior to keep up with the child. And please remember, behavior can change quickly and easily.

Child also have very good memories. Most ADD children have amazingly precise memories. Unfortunately, many adults have little appreciation for the precise memory of what was said, and react to the childs frustration, instead of simply acknowledging and responding.

An explain of a conversation postulate would be I feel a draft, is the front door open? A likely adult response to this issomeone gets up and checks the door. A likely child response is I dont know, it wasnt open when I walked past it. Or I closed it when I came in. Followed by a look at someone else.

Now here is what I find amusing. Although most people are completely unaware of conversational postulates, they are all around us, and we have been taking for granted the natural response, to a point where many of us, have come to count on the response. Somebody else gets up and checks the door, oven, thermostat, time etc. But what happens when what we expect doesnt happen and we have to take action ourselves?

The adult gets confused, and then annoyed, because what they expected to happen didnt. Time for a change. Test the questions, and be prepared to get the answer for yourself. If you arent getting the response you expected, laugh and move on. There is still so much children can teach us, enjoy the learning!


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